Community Supported Agriculture

AIM

To establish a “resource centre” which supplies agricultural inputs & training to small scale growers in the Greater Eden District and facilitates the marketing & distribution of product on behalf of its members.

INTRODUCTION

The demand for local and organic produce has been consistently growing over the past decade as more people are driven to purchase organic and natural products by health and planet care motivation. There are many growers within the local community who produce or would produce more if ease of access to markets and inputs was facilitated.

It is our intention to create the linkage between grower and consumer by following the well established concept of Community Supported Agriculture. Here the consumer becomes a partner in the production process. However, this is a difficult one to launch in the South African market and so the IFOAM concept of Participatory Guarantee Scheme will be the introduction of consumers to the Community Supported Agriculture Concept. By grouping growers and consumers together under the marketing umbrella, the risk for the consumer is reduced with regards to supply and because the consumer is part of the co-operative as well, the marketing mechanisms are transparent to all. The Co-operative is to be registered as a non-profit organization purely based on the premise that the consumer and the grower both must get the best price with the marketing and distribution costs being shared equally by both parties.

PROCEDURES FOR IMPLEMENTATION

  1. Drop off points and number of boxes per point identified. Currently drop off point in George identified with a potential of 50-100 boxes per week within a six month period.
  2. Additional markets sought or established for 2nd and 3rd grade products.
  3. Signing up of consumers as members of the Co-operative
  4. The recruitment of Growers.
  5. Training on the Co-op, membership, organic growing and access to market
  6. Material input handling to growers
  7. Collection, packing and distribution of product
  8. Budgeting, Administration & Financial Systems
  9. Social Media maintenance & Reporting systems

10.Staffing, job profiles and deliverables

11.Venue for warehousing

12.Vehicle for distribution

BUDGETING

In order for this project to be successfully launched and sustained, it is important that succession planning is put into place right from inception of the project. Hence, it will be important to document accurately the procedures to be followed. This will also ensure transparency of the project to all. Another benefit is that once the system design is in place, this process could be replicated in other regions ensuring that the mandate of “local” is adhered to.

The budget has been forecasted based on a five year cycle as we feel that in order for the project to get sufficient traction, it will need a sufficient time line. Other projects of similar nature have all taken a number of years to get traction and specifically the Abalimi Bezkaya in Cape Town and Siyavuna in KZN, hence it is prudent to start the cycle on a 5 year plan with a core staff component being consistent during this start up phase.

Attached as Annexure 1 is the projected budget for the five year period with the following assumptions:

  • 100 boxes per week within the first year
  • 200 boxes per week within the second year
  • Maintenance in year 3-5 with a possible rollout of another resource centre to reduce travel times and distances, i.e. one in George/Mosselbay and one in Knysna/Plett. However, initial Resource Hub will be at Timberlake servicing both George and Knysna and concentrating growers along the Seven Passes Route between the two towns.
  • 20 growers in the co-operative producing 1 – 2 boxes and 30 growers producing 3-4 boxes each week in the first year. Total of 100 boxes
  • Double the number of grower for the 2nd year
  • Membership fees according to participation as a consumer or grower
  • Establishment Fees for consumers
  • Donation registration
  • Ongoing training and support for growers

Values in the budget have been based on both Abalimi and Siyavuna as well as existing market prices for products and boxes

CONCLUSION

World-wide food security is becoming an issue, not to mention climate change as well as the global economic meltdown. It is important that the Southern Cape Community addresses food security, especially as it has available to it a number of valuable resources which will sustain us if we look at food as right and not a profit. The Southern Cape is also under enormous strain with regards to water and land resources and hence it is important for us to manage them well into the future. We need to concentrate on food growing and marketing locally, like it has been demonstrated throughout the world. This will ensure, not only the health of our community but preserve our natural resources in the onslaught of global warming. This is an exercise of active participation

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